Spring has sprung and summer is on the way, which means my weekly CSA box is positively packed with fresh produce, like strawberries, apricots, avocados, carrots, cukes, zucchinis, greens and so much more! Waits recently blew my mind by declaring his love for raw zucchini, and proceeding to eat almost an entire raw zucchini, cut into discs, alongside his dinner. These vegan kids, man!
This time of year, when the fresh food is finally flowing again, it can be easy to rely on that abundance of produce to comprise the bulk of our childrens’ school lunches. And it makes sense! Fresh fruits are full of easily-assimilated energy (simple carbs), healthy vitamins, and of course, hydration hydration hydration. And vegetables are an excellent source of so many nutritious minerals and micronutrients, not to mention fiber. I mean, what’s not to love?
Well, my fellow veg parents, this is your friendly mom-to-mom reminder, from my kitchen to yours. Because I see veg parents making this mistake a lot, both online and in real life. Fruits and veggies are healthy, and delicious, and kids love them, and they are just so pretty! A rainbow lunch is beautiful, and it makes us feel like we’re giving our kids the very best. Especially since we know that most American children do not meet their minimum requirements for fruits and vegetables.
But . . . most vegan children? Well, they don’t need to load up on more fruits and veggies. They’re already getting plenty! So before you pack on the extra produce, please keep in mind that there are other macronutrients which are equally essential: protein and fat! Growing bodies need both of these, and while fruits and veggies are super high in micronutrients, they tend to be very low (*too* low) in calories, and almost entirely lacking in these oh-so-essential macronutrients.
So, make sure your weegan school lunch packs a super protein punch, with concentrated sources of plant-based protein like tofu, beans, lentils, seitan, peanut butter, and pistachios.
And ensure your weegans are getting healthy fats for long-lasting energy and satiating calorie density, with delicious favorites like avocados, nuts and seeds, coconut, and healthy oils like olive, hemp, or flax.
Around our house, we tend to eat very dense dinners, so as you’ll see in the following lunches, I often rely on leftovers to provide the protein and fat that I know my growing vegan needs. Here’s a few examples of what our lunches have looked like lately, as we’ve moved through spring and started to glimpse the abundance of the coming summer bounty:
- Leftover spaghetti! Organic brown rice pasta with organic marinara and Beyond Meat crumbles.
- Trail mix with almonds, cashews, dried pineapple and dried cranberry.
- Organic apple slices.
- Organic corn chips.
- His treat — a few chlorella tablets which he pops like candy. Those vegan kids, man!
- Strawberry + peanut butter + kale protein smoothie, in the Panda Squooshi reusable squeeze pouch.
- The lunch box is our new absolute fave! It’s the Planet Box Rover and we use it almost every day. Waits adores it and I love that it’s reusable, long-lasting, and it’s super easy to clean. Two enthusiastic thumbs up!
- Leftover chia pudding! I like to make it in large batches. It’s high in protein as well as omega-3 fatty acids, and Waits just loves it. This one was made with oat milk and blueberries.
- A small hand full of organic shredded wheat cereal.
- A wee tin of organic cinnamon almonds from our local farmer’s market.
- Organic carrots and sugar snap peas from the CSA.
- Local organic blood oranges, also from the CSA.
- His treat — 2 locally grown dates. They taste just like carmel!
- Same amazing Planet Box lunch box.
- Leftover burrito! Simple refried beans, brown rice, and cheeze.
- Organic strawberries from our CSA (I use these adorable picks).
- A slice of homemade zucchini bread. SO good!
- Local organic snap peas and tangerines from our farm box.
- His treat — cinnamon & sugar almonds from the farmer’s market.
- Strawberry & kale protein smoothie, in the Penguin Squooshi reusable squeeze pouch.
- Same super fly stainless steel Planet Box Rover.
- Leftover lentils, made Magic Beans style, sent in the smallest of the Kids Conserve nesting trio containers.
- Tofurkey and cheeze sammie on whole grain bread, sent in the Lunchskins reusable snack bag.
- Raspberry + peanut butter + spinach + protein smoothie, in the Penguin Squooshi reusable squeeze pouch.
- Local cucumbers and celery, both from our CSA box, and organic corn chips. All packed in the Lunchbots Duo stainless steel bento.
- That same amazing Planet Box lunch box. Oh how we love it so!
- Leftover spaghetti bolognese. Organic brown rice pasta with organic marinara, vegan cheese, and Beyond Meat crumbles.
- Organic strawberries from our farm box, sprinkled with hemp seeds.
- Leftover savory baked tofu strips.
- Organic carrots, cucumbers, and celery.
- His treat — dried wild blueberries.
And there you have it — another round of healthy, seasonal, plant-powered and eco-friendly lunches. Each including a miniature rainbow, but also centered around a calorie-dense, protein-packed main staple, to keep my little vegan going long and strong till dinner time.
So don’t forget those leftovers! ♥
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